Finally, the verdict is in on Google Play edition phones. We already knew they they would be a great option for buyers who want the Vanilla Android experience, the question now, of course, is which Google Play Edition phone provides the best experience?I’ve never really done versus article like this one before. While I compare Android phones all the time, I’m very rarely in a position to compare phones that are so incredibly similar under the hood, with Snapdragon 600 processors, 2GB of RAM, and both running vanilla Android 4.2.2. These two phones are remarkably similar, likely more similar than any other two phones I’ve compared before (aside from comparisons of these two Google Play edition phones and their original Sense/TouchWiz counterparts).Ultimately, what I found was that these two phones offer great experiences, but at the end of the day the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition was the better phone.When it comes to the original versions of these two phones, HTC was the phone that came out on top for us. Samsung’s phone stuttered and was crammed with way too many features to make the phone fun to use. It wasn’t a great experience. HTC had done a lot to refine Sense and make it much more enjoyable to use, with some unique and compelling hardware to go with that. When we compared these original variants to the GPe phones, we found that the Sense version of the One was the better of the two phones, while the GPe S4 reigned supreme against the TouchWiz variant. In comparing these two GPe phones side by side, however, the S4 was clearly the faster and more powerful of the two phones.It shouldn’t come as a big shock that the Galaxy S4 is the better of the two Google Play Edition phones from a hardware perspective, either. While they are running very similar processors and have very similar profiles, the differences when you look at everything else on the phones really helps seal the deal. Samsung’s plastic exterior doesn’t feel quite as nice as the HTC One’s aluminum unibody design, but the availability of a removable battery and expandable microSD card slot make a big difference here. On top of this, the Samsung backplate can be replaced with one that supports Qi wireless charging, making it significantly more versatile that the HTC One.Put simply, the HTC One has a wonderful build quality, but you get more hardware options with the Galaxy S4.There’s also the camera to consider. the HTC One GPe doesn’t hold a candle to the Galaxy S4 GPe when it comes to taking photos. HTC’s camera software is what makes the HTC One camera worth using, and the vanilla Android camera lacks all of those features. The HTC One GPe takes too long to focus, and often focuses incorrectly. Compared to the Galaxy S4 GPe, or even the Nexus 4, this camera experience is subpar at best. If you can get the camera to focus where you want it, and you can hold the phone still, the HTC One can still take great pictures. Compared to the S4 GPe, there’s way less work involved in getting a great photo from the vanilla camera app. Meanwhile, Samsung’s camera experience with the GPe S4 is nearly identical to the experience with the TouchWiz variant of the phone.In my battery tests with these two phones, the HTC One averaged one to two hours longer than the Galaxy S3 Google Play edition when performing basic tasks like streaming movies or playing games. Both phones were tested in T-Mobile’s LTE network, though the HTC One GPe is missing AWS bands on T-Mobile that would make the available networks much slower in most areas when compared to the S4 GPe. This wouldn’t be an issue on AT&T, but on T-Mobile the difference between these two phones and their access to AWS is immediately noticeable.If you’re the kind of person that is looking for a google Play edition phone, the chances are good that you’re tech savvy enough to know exactly what you want. These pure Android phones are made for the growing audience of Android users who are willing to go through the root process in order to install something like CyanogenMod on their phones. These users want the pure Android experience, but on a phone of their choosing instead of a Nexus. If you’re looking at these phones but can’t decide between the two, the Galaxy S4 gets our vote.